By MALLORY GRUBEN
More than 1,300 health care workers at two PeaceHealth hospitals in Southwest Washington will walk off their jobs Oct. 23 if they don’t reach a tentative contract agreement with hospital executives. Because there are no bargaining sessions planned before that date, a strike is highly likely.
The Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP) represents lab professionals and techs, service, and maintenance workers at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver and PeaceHealth St. John in Longview. Earlier this month, those workers authorized a strike with 95% approval. They cited stalled negotiations, critically short patient staffing levels, low wages, and management’s bad faith bargaining.
On Oct. 13, ONFHP gave the required 10-day notice of a strike.
“We have been demanding a change for months, and yet management has ignored us. That is why we are taking action: to win a safe hospital for staff and patients,” said OFNHP President Jonathon Baker.
OFNHP asked to continue bargaining during the 10-day notification period, but PeaceHealth told the union it was canceling all sessions to prepare for the strike.
Another unit of about 400 technical workers (like X-ray and surgical technologists) at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart in Eugene, Oregon, is still bargaining but has not authorized a strike.